Has Twitter made my Mum ‘invisible’?

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By Adam Vincenzini

My Mum, who I love dearly, was our local council’s worst nightmare when I was growing up.

Roadworks, a flickering light, even littering, my Mum was a one woman vigilante, firing letters off on a semi-daily basis to ‘the man’ asking for things to get ‘sorted’.

If something wasn’t done, every coffee shop in the neighbourhood would have soon heard about it, others would starting voicing their disapproval, and a response usually followed pretty quickly.

Today, this handy work is increasingly being carried out via social media channels.

But my Mum doesn’t use social media.

My Mum, as she quite fairly points out, would rather be out taking the dog for a walk than glued to her laptop or phone, tweeting, checking-in or posting.

So, has my Mum lost her ‘voice’?

Last week I watched with some interest when James Whatley (@whatleydude) made a comment about an anonymous brand / service (see below).

James has in excess of 5,000 followers on Twitter, operates a popular blog (The Really Mobile Project) and according to Klout is one of the top 100 most influential UK Twitter users.

Now, if James had dropped a brand name into that Tweet, I’d bet my house (if I owned one!) that the brand in question would have responded in a matter of seconds (assuming they were doing their job properly).


As a brand, you’d quite like James to say something positive about you rather than negative as his view can potentially shape the opinions of thousands…in an instant.

But what about my Mum?

Is she now invisible?

Should she think about using Twitter / social media to regain her voice?

Is this a compelling enough reason for everyone to use social media in some shape or form?

Do brands still take ‘old school’ feedback seriously?

I don’t know the answer, but you might…


  • Reply April 13, 2010


    The twitter account is not enough to give her voice, she will then have to become an influencer, learn how to “play the social media game”. The rules of it are not obvious, and unless your mother gathers the influence she will still be just one Twitter account, which is only a small step above where she is now.

    Your mother was not invisible because she played the social game locally, away from keyboard, by going around and talking to people — and it worked for her. It is not a given that Twitter will give her the voice and influence she wants.

  • Reply April 13, 2010


    You might like this post I saw last night, too, about Troy Thompson being ignored by Walt Disney World (and his methods of testing for how responsive they would be — AND giving them the benefit of the doubt!) : http://travel2dot0.com/2010/04/dangers-ignoring-social-crm
    Really great story and some food for thought for brands 🙂

    Michelle @Synthesio

  • Reply April 14, 2010


    An interesting thought and those brands who do have someone monitoring their SM in realtime (rather than those who only monitor during working hours) will be very likely to respond promptly and try to resolve the problem. Whether this means your Mum would still be a voice, rather than a valued customer is not certain.

    To be a voice I agree with techsociotech.com – you do need to have significant following or it’s hard to make your voice heard in the overwhelming daily amount of SM chatter. Perhaps participating in a trend means you can add your voice to others’ but still, you’re unlikely to be unique in that respect.

    Also, too few brands monitor their SM tools in realtime. Customer complaints or praise often go unanswered for days at a time, or ignored totally (believe me, I know!)

    A well timed letter, properly addressed to the right department, or better still a telephone call to the correct person, is still likely to elicit a more appropriate response, even if it may take a while for the issue to be investigated. The time taken to put together the letter lends it impact which can often be lacking in a Tweet.

    For what it’s worth I do occasionally have to handle complaints and even if I received one via Twitter I would of course respond, but usually to say I need more detailed information. This can really only be contained in a letter or email.

  • Reply April 14, 2010

    Diane Meyer

    Mum is not invisible, however, the Social Media platform can give her greater visibility and her message conveyed in HER own words and not an interpretation. Her unique energy is still appreciated in these “instant messaging” times but the added tool of Social Media works to her advantage. She does need a Plan however. We don’t want this lovely lady to burn out.

  • Reply April 14, 2010


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  • Reply April 18, 2010

    Elissa Freeman

    Despite social media’s new sphere of influence – nothing beats a well-placed and well-timed phone call or email to get a company/organization moving. Too few brands haven’t yet reached full SM capacity – so while there are some good examples of the twitterverse enacting change (eg Motrin Moms), those are still few and far between.

    There’s nothing like an angry consumer/constituent’s phone call on Tues at 4 p.m. to set one back on one’s heels. Further, an email missive allows the respondant to develop a fullsome and hopefully satisfactory resolution to the problem.

    So Adam, no worries! Your Mum’s voice will still be heard!…wait…my phone’s ringing…could be her right now…!

  • Reply June 6, 2010


    No Adam your mother is not invisible she’s here (under the guise of your uncle’s login) and you will be happy to note that whilst she is not up to date with Twitter she is not too bad on the email train thanks to her typist abilities learnt in the 70’s (and there are no postage costs). Just on Friday she emailed a local magazine to indicate to them her objection to them giving front page kudos to a person of dubious note.

    I can’t believe I wrote this and in the third person as well! – I think I will take the dog for a walk this is getting addictive and I may not be able to stop, then you will all be sorry!

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